“Killing Eve,” the new series created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge*, premiered earlier this month on BBC America. The show – which Vogue called “part spy drama, part serial killer thriller, part absurdist comedy” – is based on novellas by the British author Luke Jennings that are known collectively as the Villanelle series, after the codename of one of the principal characters. From a synopsis of the books:
Oxana Vorontsova, a beautiful but supremely dangerous psychopath, is sprung from a Russian prison, and reborn as the glamorous Villanelle. The price of her new existence: to be trained in the dark arts of assassination, and to kill on demand.
“Villanelle” is a dictionary word with a backstory, but not the one Jennings provides.